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RFP for Outsourcing of support services for issuing Indian visa, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card, surrender and renunciation of Indian citizenship certificate etc - Questions asked by prospective bidders

Questions asked by prospective bidders





Break up of number of applications from each city


New York


San Francisco


DC Atlanta
18 Jul 13 to Dec 13)























Surrender and Renunciation of India citizenship








According to this Para a(A)(d) of the RFP, the annual average e turnover should be at least 1.5 times the expected annual turnover from the Service Centre operations under the Contract. Kindly provide likely amount of expected annual turnover.

Expected annual turnover from the Service Centre operations may be arrived by multiplying the estimated number of applications by the Service Charge to be quoted by the Company. 



According to para 9.7 of the RFP to this Para, the Service Provider must provide a Loss Certificate signed by an authorized signatory. Kindly specify who will be the Authorized Signatory or else a Loss Report lodge with the Police will be sufficient.

The Authorized Signatory will be the head of the local service centre of the outsourced service provider. 


Kindly provide the Embassy Bank Account details for transferring the Refundable Deposit Amount of US$ 50,000.

Bank details are as under:
Bank Name:                  Citibank N.A.
Bank Address:              1225 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20036
Name on the Account:   Embassy of India
Account #:                   15417344
ABA #:                         254070116 (For Local Transfers within USA)
SWIFT Code:              CITIUS33 (For International Transfers)


Bankers Cheque or Demand draft in favour of "Embassy of India, Washington DC” is also acceptable.

The cheque/draft should be put in a separate envelope marked refundable deposit and not with envelopes for Financial Bids or Technical Bids.


As USA is one of the countries which would be granted the visa on arrival facility. We would like to know what impact would it have on the number of visa application/year.

The question is based on a future event and cannot be answered.


We are in the process of getting certified for ISO 9001 & ISO 27001. Would this still allow us to qualify for the tender?

The Bidding Company should have ISO 9001 (or equivalent) and ISO 27001 (or equivalent) certification at the time of tendering. They should produce the certificates with their proposal document.



Base Service Fee – Is there a base price to the service fee which the provider should quote over.



How many telephone calls and emails are received on a daily basis?

Data not available.


What are the processing times for visas, OCI, PIO, renunciation certificates for each step of the process within the Visa Application Centre

Please refer to para 6(xiii) and 6 (xxix) of the RFP.


Required size of office space and the number of staff for each service at each location

The Service Centers should have minimum space (3500 sq ft in Washington DC, 5000 sq ft in New York, 3500 sq ft in Chicago, 5000 sq ft in San Francisco, 4500-5000 sq ft in Houston, 3500 sq ft in Atlanta) . Each Service Centre should also have minimum staff strength (16 in Washington DC, 30 in New York, 22 in Chicago, 25-30 in San Francisco, 25-30 in Houston and 16 in Atlanta). There should be one technical expert also at each Service Centre.


Specify the number of times the service provider is required to visit Embassy/Consulates for submission and collection of documents/passport for visa, OCI, PIO, Renunciation and Surrender cases respectively.

The service provider to send at least two runs in the day.


What percent of visa, OCI, PIO, surrender and renunciation certificate applications are received in person and by post respectively in each of the 6 cities

Approximately, 40% - in person and 60% - by post.


What percent of 35,000 surrender and renunciation certificate applications are submitted in conjunction with a Visa/OCI/PIO application

No such data is kept.


In case of postal applications, will the applicant be required to scheduled an appointment to visit the Application Centre for Biometrics only.



Given the short timeline leading upto start of operations, the incumbent service provider has an advantage over other service providers. Will the incumbent service provider be allowed to participate in this tender?

Not applicable


The distance of the Visa application center from the Embassy/Consulate in each city. Point 5A(a) mentions within 2 kms of the Embassy/Post while under point 6(22) Scope of work and deliverables – Facilities states within 3 miles of the Embassy/Post

It is clarified that the Service Centres should be within 3(three) miles from the Embassy/Consulates


In Section 6 – Scope of work and deliverables required, the RFP mentions that the service provider is required to capture biometrics from applicants. What is the expected timeline for the introduction of biometrics and will the office sizing be inclusive of this space required for this service?

The Service Provider is expected to be in readiness to capture biometrics from the start. 


As the Mission has set the VAS price ceiling (Clause 6.1(j)), can these be changed in case there is a change in market prices, tax and other such parameters which are not driven by the Service Provider?

Revision of these ceilings can be considered if sufficient ground exists for such revision. However, this will require prior written approval of the Embassy.


Reference to the scope of work and deliverables, point 13 d, xix on the Appointment system; please clarify if the service provider can introduce mandatory appointment system for submitting applications at the VAC?

Incorrect  S.No. (13 d, xix ) has been given in this question. However, it is clarified that the Service Provider will introduce appointment system for submitting applications. However, there should be provision for accepting walk-in applications for urgent and emergency cases without levying any extra charge by the Service Provider. Embassy’s/Consulates’ decision with regard to category of cases to be accepted as walk-in applications will be final and binding on the Service Provider.




Would the Embassy be willing to consider a reduction in the financial guarantees as they amount to almost $3 million which adds to the service fee and puts huge financial burden on the service provider?

No. As per RFP a certificate from a recognized agency regarding the financial soundness of the Company and its ability to provide Bank Guarantees has to be submitted by the prospective bidders. It may also be noted that all Bank guarantees must be submitted at the time of signing of contract.


Request the Embassy of India to consider revising the criteria for financial penalties keeping in mind industry standards as the current clauses do not allow any flexibility therefore making it extremely difficult from an operational and financial standpoint.

Financial penalties have been prescribed keeping in view of the interest of applicants. If efficient and professional service is provided to the public, there should be no occasion of invoking these penalties. 


It is our understanding that the Embassy will apply penalties on the new service provider for only those application made on/after 21st May 2014 and not for cases transitioned from the incumbent service provider. Please confirm.



The Insurance is required to survive the validity of contract (clause 11.1); Please provide clarity regarding the types of insurance policies that need to survive the validity of the contract.

This would be discussed during pre-bid conference.


Kindly confirm if the actual bank agency charges levied on the financial transaction for the collection of fee and service charges can be collected from the applicants on the actual basis in addition to the service charge at all VAC locations.

Please refer to clause 6.1(ix) of the


Point x under Opening of bids of the RFP refers to – “The Bidding Company’s proposal will constitute an offer to develop a contract based on the terms and conditions stated in this RFP. The proposal may form part of the final contractual documentation, if the Bidding Company is invited by the Mission to enter into a contract”. We would like to propose some clauses related to Indemnity, IPR, Cure notice, and some logical suggestions in certain clauses that would strengthen the agreement. Will the mission be willing to consider these suggestions at the sage of developing the contract?

The Contract will be based on the terms and conditions mentioned in the RFP. With regard to Bidding Company’s proposal, the RFP’s stipulation is self explanatory and does not require any further elucidation or assurance on the part of Embassy.


Will there be any benefits provided to the Third party agencies/travel agents e.g.: Specific submission timings on each day or submission on specific days only?



How long do we need to store the data in our systems before purging the data?

Information will be provider to the new Service Provider.


For Urgent/Emergency cases, kindly provide the process and timelines for data transfer to the Embassy/Consulates. Will the service provider be able to charge an additional fee for this service?

Urgent/Emergency cases should be processed straight away and sent to Embassy as soon as possible. The Service Provider shall not charge any extra fee for this service.


Please confirm biometric data is required to be collected from all applicants applying for Visas, OCI, PIO, and surrender and renunciation certificates?

At present, biometric data is envisaged for visa applications only. However, if necessary the Service Provider will  be asked to capture biometric data for other services also.


Kindly provide Biometric station specification.

Please refer Annexure – A of the RFP.


Is there a specific file format in which the biometric data has to be uploaded in the IVFRT system? Please provide the biometric data transfer file format.

Please refer Annexure – A of the RFP. Technical aspects of biometric data capture will have to be coordinated by the Service Provider with National Informatics Centre (NIC).


After scanning and digitization if the data need to be stored in simple CD/DVD format, then retrieval would also be using CD/DVD. Would the EOI also require additional EDMS software for retrieval which can be used internally within the MEA staff?

Please refer Annexure-C of the RFP.
Technical aspects of will have to be coordinated by the Service Provider with National Informatics Centre (NIC).


Does the Embassy of India have its own software where the service provider will upload images post scanning and digitize along with indexing or will the indexing of every application along with scanning & digitization be done in the EDMS software provided by the Service Provider?

Please refer Annexure-C of the RFP.
Technical aspects of will have to be coordinated by the Service Provider with National Informatics Centre (NIC).


Is the Service Provider required to scan, digitize and index the images on the same day of acceptance of the applications? Please confirm these needs to be done at the Embassy/Consulate premises.

This has to be done on same day and at the Service Provider's premises.


Can the Embassy of India specify the documents that needs to be scanned and digitized for Visas, OCI, PIO, surrender and renunciation certificate applications as this will impact our sizing exercise.

Please refer to para 6.1(x) of the RFP.


Provide details of the fields, file format and also share specifications or mandatory requirements that should be considered for the capturing data in the system for Surrender and renunciation certificate cases.

Technical aspects of will have to be coordinated by the Service Provider with National Informatics Centre (NIC).


It is our understanding that there are several penalties that are applicable for applicants applying for surrender and renunciation certificate cases. Can the Embassy specify the amounts and conditions for the applicable penalties for these applications?

Details will be provided to the new Service Provider.


Visa fees are to be remitted to Embassy/Consulate on a daily basis. For cases where refund of the visa fee is necessary, will the Embassy of India refund the Visa fee or will the Service Provider be require to refund the visa fee?

This will be considered on case to case basis.  


What are the different types of fees that will need to be collected from the Applicants for Visas, OCI, PIO, surrender and renunciation cases? Please specify if the fees are dependent on Nationality, category or any other criteria.

Complete fee structure will be provided to the new Service Provider.


What is the duration of retaining a postal application (after attempts of contacting the applicant) that has been received in an incomplete state?

The retention period will be 21 days.
Service Provider will make all attempts to fulfill all the missing requirement. If all attempts fail, the applications will be returned along with fees (excluding service charges of the Service Provider)


Does the Embassy of India require CCTV surveillance of the capture of biometrics at the Application Centres? If yes, please specify how the recording needs to be managed, how long should it be archived and does the Embassy require access to the same and at what frequency?

It is desirable that the Service Centers is equipped with proper security and vigilance system including security staff, metal detector and CCTV cameras etc.


Please confirm that the digitization process for the new service provider will start only with the new applications accepted on May 21 2014 and there will be no backlog to cover.



Please provide data on number of cases or percentage of applications received as family cases at each of the 6 cities.

No such data is maintained.


The fact that average lead times for acquiring, permitting, and building out new office space in the contract’s six cities currently exceeds the 45 days allowed for under RFP paragraphs 5A,(a),(b), and (c) implies that the Embassy is only interested in getting a proposal from an offertory that already has such space contracted for – such as the Embassy’s incumbent contractor. This preference is reinforced by the huge financial penalty of $50,000 or more imposed if the new contractor cannot prove its “readiness” within that 45 days. In this context, would the Embassy change the readiness requirement from 45 days to 90 days after contract award?

Not relevant.


Among the new requirements that drive up staffing levels and cost is the requirement to scan, digitize, and post/upload all visa application documents into IVFRT “on each working day” – essentially in advance of processing and transferring those applications to the Embassy/Consulates. In this context, because it increases the time and scope of tasks required to process an application timely, would the Embassy consider allowing the digitization and upload actions to be performed later in the processing cycle, but in advance of final visa delivery to the customer? If yes, more efficient staffing and lower pricing are likely to result.

Please refer to answer to question att S.No 34.


Service Provider Services Fees Prescribed by Embassy], c) courier service @ $ 15 per packet or actual basis whichever is less (supported by receipt from the Courier company) 
Please remove the $15 limit on courier service fees or increase the limit to $20 and apply it on a per-passport basis.  From experience, we know that the packages sent by courier in service of this contract are often heavy and frequently exceed $15 in per-package cost. Imposing a $15 limit only penalizes the Service Provider for providing a necessary service.

This may be reviewed, if required.


Please consider removing or modifying the prohibition on value-added services to read:  “The provision of additional value-added services will be considered permissible if approved by an Embassy representative in advance.

Value-added services will be guided by the RFP.


RFP Para 2. The Embassy may terminate the contract by giving two months advance notice. The Service Provider may terminate the contract by giving six months advance notice with justification…”
India’s intended expansion of the visa-on-arrival program could affect a dramatic reduction in the scope of visas to be processed under this contract. As such, it significantly increases the financial risk to any bidder making an investment in equipment, facilities, and personnel. In this context, the Embassy’s ability to terminate the contract with only two months advance notice seems both likely and unfair to the Service Provider. Would the Embassy consider changing this clause from “two months advance notice” to, at a minimum, “six months advance notice”? If not, will the Embassy offer some assurance or guarantee that the Service Provider will be given at least 6 months advance notice before the Visa-on-Arrival program is instituted for travelers from the U.S.?

Stipulation regarding termination of contract is final.


While we acknowledge the RFP’s requirement for two Bank Guarantees totaling $1,760,000 ($500,000 and $1,260,000, respectively), the amount of contractor funds to be taken and held in escrow for the duration of the contract seems excessive and prohibitive for a contract whose potential annual profits are far less than that amount. The amounts are particularly prohibitive for offerors that are small or medium-size businesses. In this context, would the Embassy consider reducing the collective tally of Bank Guarantees to $1,000,000 or less?

Please refer to answer to Question at S.No. 20.


The RFP specifies that the Service Provider’s Bank Guarantee(s) may be forfeited simply if the Embassy and Consulates General are “not satisfied with the progress made” and/or “in case of delay.” These RFP clauses – such as 5(A),(e) –  fail to specify exact and reasonable performance standards or criteria for justifying such a forfeiture. The RFP clauses also fail to give the Service Provider any recourse or due process that might consider extenuating circumstances or conditions beyond the Service Provider’s control. Respectfully, in this context, we request that each reference to potential forfeiture of bank guarantees be modified to include (a) specific performance standards and/or criteria for justifying such forfeiture and (b) an allowance for due process that fairly considers extenuating circumstances, conditions outside of Service Provider control, and/or other contributing factors.

Performance standards would be judged as per elucidation  in the RFP.


While we acknowledge the Embassy’s desire to penalize the Service Provider for loss of passports or other documents, the introduction of a $1000 fine attached to “every case of misplaced/lost/untraceable” document will only be fair if it includes some due process that considers contributing factors and the possible complicity of parties outside of the Service Provider’s control. In this context, we respectfully request that every RFP reference to such fines be modified to include a due process clause.

Please refer to answer to Question at S.No. 21.


RFP Ref.: 5(A)(f) “Personnel selected for Service Centres must be available… for training for 5 working days in Embassy/Consulates… 2 weeks prior to commencement of services.”
RFP Ref.: 5(A)(g) “Trained personnel must work concurrently with previous service provider for ten working days for the taking over process – 2 weeks prior to commencement of services.”
Q:  Should bidders assume that the requirements of 5(A)(f) and 5(A)(g) are concurrent and overlapping, i.e., that training in the Embassy/Consulates and work with the incumbent take place at the same time?
Also, should bidders assume that the two weeks spent working with the incumbent is work performed without any compensation to the Service Provider?

RFP stipulation in this regard is final.


We request that the location for Arbitration proceedings be changed from New Delhi to Washington, DC.  In the event of any dispute during the course of the contract, a US-based location will be far more practical for all parties involved since the Service Provider personnel will be US-based, the Embassy’s contract management personnel will be US-based, and the contract procurement activity is being coordinated in Washington, DC.  If parties in a US-based dispute are required to travel to New Delhi, it will only add unnecessary expense and logistical burdens on the lives of everyone who has to travel. It will not be efficient or timely.

RFP stipulation in this regard is final.


You mentioned in the RFP document page no:1 that the the Embassy of India and its
Consulates General will receive application counts as following:
1 Visa Application 3,50,000
2 OCI/PIO 2,00,000
3 Surrender and renunciation of Indian citizenship certificate 35,000
Could you please provide following details for the last 3 years?

Monthly Break up of application count for each of the above services from all the

Application count during lean & peak season from all the locations

Please refer to S.No. 1.


How many applications are received by travel agents and how many applications are received
by applicants directly at each location? Please provide us with the monthly break up for the last 3 years?

No such data is kept.


How many applications are received by post and by courier in each location? Please provide us
with the monthly break up for the last 3 years?

No data is available.


Could we offer a centralised in house call centre in India (operating on USA Local time)?
Applicants will dial a local number in USA and all calls will be routed to India.

Call Centre requirement should be as per RFP


Please also provide us with the jurisdiction details of Embassy & its Consulates covering USA.

New York - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
San Francisco - Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
Chicago - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Houston - Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Nebraska
Atlanta - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virgin Islands
Washington DC - Bermuda, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia